The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 18, No. 1 June 1991
Gary D. Burkette Michael P. Riordan and
Diane A. Riordan JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY
BRANCH ACCOUNTING: EVIDENCE FROM THE ACCOUNTING RECORDS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN MORAVIANS
Abstract: Europeans transported continental accounting practices during the period of worldwide colonization. This paper describes the transportation of branch accounting by members of the Moravian Church. Physical records maintained in the Archives for the Southern Province of the Moravian Church at Salem, North Carolina, and for the Northern Province at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, contain a com-plex, two-tiered system of branch accounting for the enterprises within the settlements and the settlements within the worldwide Church. This paper traces recorded activity for 1775 from an enter-prise to its diacony (business organization of a church) and from the diacony to the European Church headquarters. Reporting practices in both North American diaconies reflect a similar practice of branch accounting, each culminating in formal financial statements to the European "home office" of the Moravian Church.
Many is the long winter evening that I have passed in the wigwams of the Delawares, listening to the good Moravians ...
Today, over a century and a half since James Fenimore Cooper made this reference to the Moravians in The Prairie, the average scholar is perhaps only slightly familiar with the history of the Moravians. By consulting the bookkeeping records left behind by the Moravian settlers, accounting scholars will gain a greater understanding of accounting practices transported to
The authors wish to acknowledge Richard G. Vangermeersch for his assistance on this manuscript.